|Old Slys - Lock 26-27
photo by: Ken W. Watson
|Two locks provide 16.1 feet (4.9 m) of lift. The 21 foot high dam which raises the Rideau River in this location is now barely visible, only the top four feet (1.2 m) of the original 21 foot (6.4 m) high dam visible due to later backfilling.
A railway bridge crossing was first established here in 1858 by the Brockville and Ottawa Railway. It signaled Smiths Falls development as a railway hub, a role that would continue into the 20th century. The railway, contrary to popular belief, did not end commercial navigation on the Rideau Canal since large bulk goods (wood, coal, grain, etc.) were cheaper to move through the Rideau by barge than by train. In fact the barge shipments of coal (from the U.S.) to Smiths Falls and Ottawa helped maintain commercial navigation on the Rideau Canal. It was the development of road trucking in the early 20th century that signalled the demise of commercial barging on the Rideau Canal.
For a full history of the Old Slys Locks see: History of the Old Slys Locks
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